The first Commonwealth Women’s Forum (CWF) was held in Malta at the margins of the November 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM). The inaugural CWF in Malta was convened as a response to a proposal from the 10th meeting of the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Meeting of 2013.
The purpose of the CWF is to affirm high-level support and direct top-level policies for gender equality and human rights; for women to be given the opportunity to interact with the Heads of Government; and for the Commonwealth’s gender equality commitments to be higher on the agenda for Heads of Government.
At the 2015 CHOGM, the Heads underlined the importance and additional value for the Commonwealth that had been achieved through the success of the inaugural Women’s Forum, and agreed it should become an integral part of future CHOGMs. The second CWF was held in London, UK in 2018 and the 2018 CHOGM endorsed the Outcome Statement of the 2018 CWF.
The forum is structured around plenary sessions and interactive workshops on priority issues. Rwanda expects up to 500 delegates from multigenerational, stakeholder groups, leaders from different sectors, including civil society, youth, activists, academia, influencers, policy-makers, donors, the private sector, and leaders from all sectors in the Commonwealth and globally.
The CYF is the ‘centrepiece’ of the Commonwealth’s youth engagement strategy and is the highest decision-making forum for young people in the Commonwealth. It brings together young leaders from across the Commonwealth to exchange ideas; build networks; identify and debate development issues, challenges and opportunities; agree youth-led initiatives to mitigate challenges facing young people; and create opportunities to enhance young potential.
The CYF incorporates the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) General Assembly during which youth leaders receive reports on progress from the last CYF and hold their CYC executives to account on their stewardship of the CYC. In this way, the CYF has a built-in monitoring and accountability framework from CHOGM to CHOGM.
The CHOGM Intergenerational Dialogue with Heads of Government is another component that provides the highest-level demonstration of the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to respecting and including young people’s perspectives and capabilities in decision-making.
CYF delegates take part in interactive sessions with delegates in the other parallel forums, as both panelists and delegates. In addition, selected youth representatives from CYF are invited to attend the Pre-CHOGM Foreign Ministers Meeting to present their policy recommendations and concrete proposals and plans for youth-led action. Rwanda expects up to 350 delegates including two official youth delegates from each member country, as well as other specially invited/selected international and local young people, and key youth sector stakeholders.
The CPF brings together civil society representatives from around the world to discuss and debate key issues facing Commonwealth people. It is the single largest opportunity for civil society to engage with Commonwealth leaders on global development issues.
The forum is structured around plenary sessions and interactive workshops and discussions, policy dialogues, cultural events, field visits to CS projects and a formal dialogue between civil society delegates and Foreign Ministers.
The objectives of the CPF are:
- to facilitate the sharing of lessons learned and good practice related to a chosen theme;
- to enable civil society to use the forum’s specific policy dialogues to influence government policy-makers; and
- to promote the Commonwealth Foundation and its work through the forum, via various communication channels.
The Commonwealth Foundation is the intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth that has the mandate to deliver the CPF and has been supporting civic voices and inputs to CHOGM since 1991.
Rwanda expects up to 350 delegates including 100 to 150 international delegates.
The CBF has grown into a major international event, which draws together business and government leaders from all Commonwealth countries for a dialogue on practical ways to enhance trade and investment. Traditionally, the CBF has been a 70/30 split of attendees from business and government.
It provides facilities that enable direct business linkages and investment promotion activities. The forum is structured around plenary sessions and interactive workshops over three days, and also provides opportunities for one-to-one business meetings.
The CBF is traditionally held on the three days preceding the Official Opening of CHOGM, to maximise the participation of and benefit to visiting Heads of Government and their delegations. It is addressed by Heads of Government, senior ministers and business leaders from around the Commonwealth and beyond.
The CBF is organised by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) in partnership with the government of the host country, through the CHOGM Taskforce and a CBF sub-committee in which CWEIC is involved. Rwanda expects between 1,000 to 1,500 delegates and government attendees at the 2020 CBF in Kigali.